Scotty Stevenson: NZR's hubris to blame for All Blacks' likely Christmas quarantine, not SANZAAR

If any All Blacks are looking for someone to blame for potentially spending Christmas in managed isolation instead of with family this year, they may want to look a little closer to home instead of pinning it on SANZAAR.

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Stevenson says NZ Rugby needs to take the blame for once, instead of shifting it elsewhere. Source: Breakfast

That's the belief of 1 NEWS Sport presenter and rugby commentator Scotty Stevenson, who joined TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning to break down yesterday's events which he could only describe as "an absolute shambles".

New Zealand Rugby were quick to release a statement yesterday following the release of this year's Australia-based Rugby Championship, saying they were "disappointed" the fixtures were announced without them signing off on them.

One Test in particular - the All Blacks' Bledisloe clash with Australia on December 12 - has particularly annoyed NZR as it means players won't be able to be with their families on Christmas Day due to New Zealand's current Covid-19 restrictions which require anyone entering the country to spend two weeks in managed isolation.

But Stevenson said none of this would be a problem if NZR worked harder when New Zealand was initially seen as the ideal host for this year's tournament.

"Our argument here from a rugby fan point-of-view and an NZR point-of-view is,' 'We worked with the Government but it's their fault, it's their quarantine rules that have decided this so blame them.'

"But were they right? No. [NZR] knew what our quarantine situation was like and obviously did not work hard enough to make sure that they could convince their partners to get to New Zealand and deal with the situation here."

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Andy Marinos said All Blacks aren't the only ones making sacrifices in this year's Rugby Championship. Source: 1 NEWS

Stevenson added this isn't the first time the New Zealand rugby community has tried to shift the blame when things have gone sour for the All Blacks.

"In 2007, we blamed the referee for losing a Rugby World Cup, in 1995 we blamed a waitress, we blamed the Government quarantine rules for losing the Rugby Championship," he said. 

"When is the blame going to shift squarely on the way NZR has dealt with this partnership?"

Stevenson said NZR got over-confident earlier this year when New Zealand was in Alert Level 1 and that was to blame for the most recent blunder, which in return has led to yesterday's fallout.

"There was hubris involved. It was a great moment and rugby centred itself around the triumphalism of being Covid-free but we're not Covid-free at the moment.

"I think, unfortunately, NZR got ahead of themselves - far too ahead of themselves - and this is the result.

"They've beaten down Australian rugby for many, many years and the fans have too - it's been rather infectious how we've laughed at Australian rugby - and now Australian rugby is having a laugh back.

"You cannot go on blaming other people... You have to negotiate this stuff and the people in charge of those negotiations are the people sitting around the boardroom table at NZR. They have failed in this instance, and there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than we are being led to believe."

And to make matter worse, Stevenson said Rugby Australia also have the recent Super Rugby reform proposal from NZR which said they could only have two teams in the trans-Tasman competition to fuel the current situation.

"We underestimated the umbrage they took with being told that," Stevenson said.

"Had the boot been on the other foot, how would New Zealand have reacted? What would you have expected? 

"Those who would claim politics do not exist in SANZAAR have obviously not been following rugby for the last 25 years because politics has always existed in SANZAAR."